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Should I stay or should I go?

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

The United Nations is dispatching its top political official, Under Secretary General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe, to Nepal next week to assess the peace process. He will be stopping over in India first to discuss ‘matters of regional and international importance’, which is interesting because Maoist Party’s foreign department chief just accused India of encouraging the government to oppose UNMIN’s presence. Nagarik reports:

UCPN (Maoist) foreign department chief Krishna Bahadur Mahara has accused the the government of criticising UNMIN with directions from India. He said the government wanted to derail the peace process by criticising a common agency like UNMIN.

Pascoe is likely to discuss UNMIN’s deadline in Nepal, which expires on 28 May, also the deadline for writing the new constitution. The Maoist party is in favour of extending its mandate, as noted by the party’s vice chairman Baburam Bhattarai. From Nagarik:

Bhattarai said UNMIN’s presence in Nepal was criticial until the the constitution is written and the peace process is concluded. He expressed this view in a meeting with UNMIN chief Karen Landgren on Sunday morning.

The UML-led government is quibbling with UNMIN over the data of disqualified combatants. The government wants information about the disqualified combatants, including their names and addresses, for what it says is to ascertain the funds released in their names gets to them. On Sunday, Deputy Prime Minister Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar said the government has made a decision not to extend UNMIN’s deadline because of its refusal to cooperate with the government. Kantipur writes:

Deputy Prime Minister Gachchhadar said UNMIN assists the Maoists while obstructing the government’s plan to reduce its financial burden. He said there was no longer a need of such agency in Nepal.

What are the chances of the constitution being written in time? According to the Maoists: as much as the chances of two opposing parties agreeing to a package deal including a change in the government. Republica writes:

Maoist Vice-Chairman Dr Baburam Bhattarai said on Saturday that the peace process and constitution drafting would not see the light of day unless the parties are ready for a package deal including change of government.

He said the political parties should also be ready to go beyond the limits of the 12-point agreement and forge a new agreement to complete the peace process and constitution drafting.

He also flatly rejected the ruling parties´ stance that they are open to the formation of a national government led by the Maoists if the latter first agree to the agenda of the constitution and integration and rehabilitation of Maoist combatants. “The deal should be reached in a package. And you cannot just ask for our approval for the constitution. What really matters is the content of the constitution,” he said.

Read updates on Jamim Shah’s murder case:
Youth reveals gang tried to kill National TV chief earlier
Former DSP keeper of killers’ weapons: Police

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